If your doctor suspects diabetic ketoacidosis, he or she will do a physical exam and various blood tests. In some cases, additional tests may be needed to help determine what triggered the diabetic ketoacidosis.
Blood tests used in the diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis will measure:
- Blood sugar level. If there isn't enough insulin in your body to allow sugar to enter your cells, your blood sugar level will rise (hyperglycemia). As your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, your blood sugar level will continue to rise.
- Ketone level. When your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, acids known as ketones enter your bloodstream.
- Blood acidity. If you have excess ketones in your blood, your blood will become acidic (acidosis). This can alter the normal function of organs throughout your body.
Your doctor may order tests to identify underlying health problems that might have contributed to diabetic ketoacidosis and to check for complications. Tests might include:
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- Blood electrolyte tests
- Chest X-ray
- A recording of the electrical activity of the heart (electrocardiogram)
- Ketoacidosis (DKA). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Merck Manuel Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/diabetes-mellitus-and-disorders-of-carbohydrate-metabolism/diabetic-ketoacidosis-dka. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Kitabchi AE, et al. Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state in adults: Clinical features, evaluation and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Kitabchi AE, et al. Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Jeffries CA, et al. Preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2015;62:857.
- Checking for ketones. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-for-ketones.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.